This week, we are thinking about how our conversations build community. Here are some words of wisdom to get us started:
Choose to focus your time, energy and conversation around people who inspire you, support you and help you to grow you into your happiest, strongest, wisest self. ~ Karen Salmansohn
Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity.The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words. ~ Roy T. Bennett
We all lose when bullying and personal attacks become a substitute for genuine conversation and principled disagreement.
Body language is a very powerful tool. We had body language before we had speech, and apparently, 80% of what you understand in a conversation is read through the body, not the words. ~ Deborah Bull
Face-to-face conversation unfolds slowly. It teaches patience.
As far as playing jazz, no other art form, other than conversation, can give the satisfaction of spontaneous interaction. ~ Stan Getz
Hi, Craig. I am wondering, what makes a conversation good and meaningful to you?
The first thing that comes to mind is listening—active listening. Sometimes, repeating back to a person what you heard puts into practice a consistent, accountable listening process. So many times, we really aren't listening to understand (as Roy Bennett reminds us). In addition, as Deborah Bull says, so much of being in conversation is body language, and that's a huge loss in the time of COVID. I have seen more misunderstandings during the past year that have come from inaccurate listening, because we're missing out on so many cues. But I guess listening is only a part of a good conversation...what would you add, Virginia?
I agree that really listening for what is said, and what is not said is important. And speaking from the heart is another good practice. I love hearing more than just the facts of a story, but also how you feel about them. Often those feelings are expressed non-verbally, which can be missed in email or zoom calls. Even wearing a mask when we are in person covers smiles and more. It is amazing how well we have done given these limitations! Of course it still matters that we let each other share and not monopolize the air time. Spontaneous conversations really do require back and forth. Is there anything else we should know about good conversations?
I'm reminded of something that comes from the days when I was leading Youth Group conversations, and which was always in our covenant with one another: "step up, step back." In conversations involving more than one person, often the same voices predominate. It actually takes some thought to remember, for instance, that you are always the one talking, or conversely, that you are someone who needs to step up and consciously offer words to the conversation. Sometimes when I am moderating a conversation, I remember to ask if any unheard-from voices want to add anything. The point is that conversations don't just happen; they have to be helped along with care, sensitivity, and a love for the idea that more perspectives add depth to our lives. We can learn so much from one another, if we take the time to speak, to listen, and to craft relationships of respect. Any final words, Virginia?
I do love a good conversation, Craig! I learn so much in each one. Thank you for sharing this ministry in a way that makes the conversations go a little deeper!
We would love to invite you to more good conversations here at UUCMC
UU Connections (and Conversations) Make Community
Join us this Sunday!
Rev. Virginia and Rev. Craig